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Live Like a Freelancer, Charge Like a Business

Live Like a Freelancer, Charge Like a Business

Freedom! Independence! Coffee! These are the promises of a freelance life, and it’s a wonderful image. As I branched out from corporate life (got fired…again) I embraced the freelance ethos of not letting the man get me down, living life on my terms and working from coffee shops with a superior smirk at the ready, should some office bound hack come my way.

The problem is, freelancing isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. I found that while I liked the idea – and still do – I’m just not suited to it; I needed to find a way to get the best of freelancing, while taking the best things from corporate life – consistent income, the resources of others, the flexibility to work beyond the structures of an intermediary or freelancing site – without the gross parts that make me want to spit bile. I wanted to freelance while behaving like a business.

So I made a list of the things I wanted and didn’t want. I had to accept that some basics came with having a business, like budgets and product offerings beyond, “I do writing,” but there were clear lines in the sand – I would not work in an office, be restricted to office hours, or work with anyone who took themselves too seriously.

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Here’s the most important of those rules, adapted over time.

1. Act Like a Business

The perception of being a business of substance is important. Probably not to you, but your prospects like to feel comfortable engaging you, they want to sense there is more accountability than your promise.

  •  Invest in a website – you’re not as good at WordPress as you think (unless you’re a WP designer).
  • Find some good marketing automation software. Combine MailChimp with a marketing stack – Hubspot, Hootsuite, Sprout Social and Buffer are all good places to start. Spend some time creating a social calendar and a way to collect leads from your website.
  • Get an accounting system with invoicing capability – I use Xero, Quickbooks is awesome, but there are heaps of options out there.
  • Get a logo. I spent ages on this and eventually I just found a font I liked. Check out www.knighttime.com.au, for my mindbogglingly simple creation.
  • Get business cards. I hate business cards; they seem so dated in the digital age, but go to Moo.com and spend hours creating.

2. Charge Like a Business

Freelancers sell on price, and (good) businesses sell on value. When I started ‘being’ a business, I had to put up my prices for new clients – because businesses charge more. This was good news, both for my clients and I, because there was increased accountability from me, and realistically, I was (and am) still charging below market rates. That’s cool because I have overheads so low I could bump my face on them, and businesses are far less price sensitive than freelancers.

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I’ll talk more about packaging in a later blog, but in the meantime define at least two offerings that you can charge for, either on an extended project basis or as a monthly commitment. If this is intimidated, do what I do – use it as a guarantee.

“If you don’t like our work, just stop – there’s no commitment.” It’s a powerful statement, because it increases accountability again, and it’s true. The best guarantees are crystal clear with no positioning and offer genuine peace of mind.

3. Tack On Offerings

One of the most frustrating parts of being a freelance writer was when I had to leave money on the table. “Can you do web design? I need this blog to look awesome.” “Do you know Photoshop?” “Can you create my logo?” Every time I had to shake my head and walk away, knowing that I’d likely opened the door to another freelancer who would gladly claim to be a writer despite their lack of, you know, writing experience.

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Now, I have a little group of loyal peeps who I’ve tested and used on heaps of engagements. They understand that when they deal with a client, they’re my team member and should act as such. Why would they do this? Because I get them paid! I don’t clip the ticket too much, treat them fairly, remember they’re not your employees, and make sure the offering is still compelling for the client. Boom! More freelancers, doing their freelance thang.

4. Don’t Spend Money On Pointless Junk

Things are going well! Don’t listen to anyone who says you should move into a shared space – that’s called a library or a park. Don’t for goodness sake hire staff, even on a casual basis. Don’t upgrade the car (yet) and don’t think you’ve got the whole thing sorted. The strength of freelancing is adaptability – you can be fluid according to market conditions and adapt your offering, marketing, structure or…well, anything if needs be.

I mentioned my low cost base – that’s advantageous, not only from an adaptability point of view, but also for authenticity’s sake. You see, I don’t care about the Mercedes, the big office or the bottles of champagne…and that brings me to the most important point.

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5. Define What You Want, and Do That Fearlessly

I want to sit on the beach, in a park, or wherever with the sun on my face, and a skateboard, headphones, and coffee not too far away. I passionately want to create works that matter to my clients. I like working hard, but on my own terms.

None of these things may resonate with you, and that’s fine. Define your vision, and force it into life by being an epic freelancer, who runs their own business. Begin with the right mindset and the right clients, freelancers and supporters will show up.

Featured photo credit: Camille Kimberley via Unsplash via unsplash.com

More by this author

Rhys Knight

Head of Content at www.knight.global

Hacking Your Beliefs Can Change Your Life Reprogram Your Brain, Change Your Life Want To Be Authentic? Speak To Your Inner Child How To Write Content That Matters 3 Steps to Being Fearless, Epic & Free In 2017

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Last Updated on May 7, 2021

Productivity Boost: How to start your day at 5:00 AM

Productivity Boost: How to start your day at 5:00 AM

I have been an early-riser for over a year now. Monday through Friday I wake up at 5:00 AM without hitting the snooze button even once. I never take naps and rarely feel tired throughout the day. The following is my advice on how to start your day (everyday) at 5:00 AM.The idea of waking up early and starting the day at or before the sunrise is the desire of many people. Many highly successful people attribute their success, at least in part, to rising early. Early-risers have more productive mornings, get more done, and report less stress on average than “late-risers.” However, for the unaccustomed, the task of waking up at 5:00 AM can seem extremely daunting. This article will present five tips about how to physically wake up at 5:00 AM and how to get yourself mentally ready to have a productive day.

Many people simply “can’t” get up early because they are stuck in a routine. Whether this is getting to bed unnecessarily late, snoozing repetitively, or waiting until the absolute last possible moment before getting out of bed, “sleeping in” can easily consume your entire morning. The following tips will let you break the “sleeping in” routine.

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Relocate your alarm clock.

Having an alarm clock too close to your bed is the number one reason people simply cannot get up in the morning. If your alarm clock is within arms reach of your bed, or if you can turn your alarm clock off without getting out of bed, you are creating an unnecessarily difficult situation for yourself. Before I became an early-riser, there were many times that I would turn off my alarm without even waking up enough to remember turning it off. I recommend moving your alarm clock far enough away from your bed that you have to get completely out of bed to turn it off. I keep my alarm clock in the bathroom. This may not be possible for all living arrangements, however, I use my cellphone as an alarm clock and putting it in the bathroom makes perfect sense. In order to turn off my alarm I have to get completely out of bed, and since going to the restroom and taking a shower are the first two things I do everyday, keeping the alarm clock in the bathroom streamlines the start of my morning.

Scrap the snooze.

The snooze feature on all modern alarm clocks serves absolutely no constructive purpose. Don’t even try the “it helps me slowly wake up” lie. I recommend buying an alarm that does not have a snooze button. If you can’t find an alarm without a snooze button, never read the instructions so you will never know how long your snooze button lasts. Not knowing whether it waits 10 minutes or 60 minutes should be enough of a deterrent to get you to stop using it.

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Change up your buzzer

If you use the same buzzer day in and day out, you begin to develop a tolerance to the sound. The alarm clock will slowly become less effective at waking you up over time. Most newer alarm clocks will let you set a different buzzer tone for the different days of the week. If you change your buzzer frequently, you will have an easier time waking up.

Make a puzzle

If you absolutely cannot wake up without repetitive snoozing, try making a puzzle for yourself. It doesn’t take rocket science to understand that the longer your alarm is going off, the more awake you will become. Try making your alarm very difficult to turn off by putting it under the sink, putting it under the bed, or better yet, by forcing yourself to complete a puzzle to turn it off. Try putting your alarm into a combination-locked box and make yourself put in the combination in order to turn off the alarm — it’s annoying, but extremely effective!

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Get into a routine

Getting up at 5:00 AM is much easier if you are doing it Monday through Friday rather than sporadically during the week. I recommend setting an alarm once that repeats everyday. Also, going to bed at about the same time every night is an important factor to having a productive morning. Learn how much sleep you need to get in order to not feel exhausted the following day. Some people can get by on 4-6 hours while most need 7-8.

Have a reason

Make sure you have a specific reason to get up in the morning. Getting up at 5:00 AM just for the heck of it is a lot more difficult than if you are getting up early to plan your day, pay bills, go for a jog, get an early start on work, etc. I recommend finding something you want to do for yourself in the morning. It will be a lot easier to get up if you are guaranteed to do something fun for yourself — compare this to going on vacation. You probably have no problem waking up very early on vacation or during holidays. My goal every morning is to bring that excitement to the day by doing something fun for myself.

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As I previously mentioned, I have been using these tips for a very long time. Joining the world of early-risers has been a great decision. I feel less stressed, I get more done, and I feel happier than I did when I was a late-riser. If you follow these tips you can become an early-riser, too. Do you have any tips that I didn’t mention? What works best for you? Let us know in the comments.

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